Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Hello dear MB, 

Thank you for your last post which was such a treat to receive and read. Each one from you is. It's not news when I tell you that I have always been a fan of your writing, but how that plays out now is that when these posts from you arrive online and start with 'Dear Rachel' I feel a sense of disbelief right alongside the excitement of reading them. 

My favourite line from your last post was about you and your boys missing each other like wartime sweethearts. I went away from my boys for three nights and three days last week and I too was missed while I was away, but not needed particularly I don't think. The greeting at the airport was full of big squeezing hugs though and many voices at once and I was glad to be back with them. 

I laughed thinking about your brother asking if you had a weather app on your phone. I can see that checking a weather app might seem like precious time poorly spent for you at the moment. I, on the other hand, have two weather apps. One is the Met Service app which I almost never check despite it being highly informative and often quite accurate. I find my needs are better met by checking the Ben Brown weather app. How it goes is that when I'm getting my clothes organised for the next morning I ask him what the weather forecast is and he looks at me and says "Do you want me to check it?" (in a tone of voice that clearly indicates that he KNOWS I have the Met Service app on my phone and therefore why don't I check it myself?) to which I reply "Yes thanks, that would be great". And so he checks it and tells me what to expect weather wise and I choose my clothes accordingly and he goes back to his book and doesn't stay mad at me. I have more to say on the importance of friendship and goodwill but I will do that another time.

As you know, my three days and nights away were to go down to Dunedin to visit my Dad. It was a confusing time for me because he seemed better than the last time I had seen him (I was expecting him to be worse) and while he confirmed he was better his wife insisted he was worse. I came away confused and I will need to think on the whole thing more before I try to put it into words.

Before I started blog writing I imagined that blogs would be just the place to iron out thoughts on any problems. But no. More often I have discovered that not everything is mine to discuss, and that the bigger the problem the less me trying to tidy it up by writing about it in a semi-public forum seems to help. Or more accurately, it is beyond my capabilities to do so: I can't sum up when I'm in the middle of it all.

Anyway, on Sunday in Dunedin it snowed. Only little snow flakes, nothing that settled, but it was pretty and I stopped for some time and watched those little flakes drift past the window. I like the view out the window of the room I stay in. It's the sort of room where you can leave the curtains open and not have to worry about your modesty or anyone else's sensibilities. 
I took this photo but I couldn't capture the snowflakes. 
I just thought you'd like to hear about that snow. I thought of you at the time.

I'm sorry to hear about your week of cracked friendships. I've found the safety in old friends is that when they misbehave in all their usual tried and true ways you can shrug it off and say "that's so typically them". Sometimes you can even nip it in the bud if you know some tricks for what makes them tick. With newer friends, or ones that you don't know inside out, when they behave in ways you weren't expecting it causes the lay of the land (and everything you know about them) to shift and then it all has to resettle. It's not my favourite feeling.

I have had a week that has been full to the brim with things that have filled my head. I usually have quite an efficient system for dealing with problems. It goes something along the lines of... 
Problem in ---> Consider problem ---> Identify possible solutions ---> Action solutions ---> Problem solved ---> Move on. 
This weeks load hasn't been so easy and my mind has been like an overflowing in-tray. 

Let me tell you about Arlo: he is one of the things that has been on my mind this week. 
Five facts about Arlo: 
1) He is a sausage. 
2) He is missing Grandma and it shows. 
3) The rules don't apply to Arlo. For example sometimes after he's flushed the toilet he marches out of the bathroom calling "I'm not washing my hands Mummy!" as if he's issuing a challenge to me to try and make him.
4) He cusses (today I heard him say shut up. I suspect he was talking to me. And when people annoy him he tells them they're a baby in the butt. I don't know what that means but I just found out Ben had always thought he was saying "You've got a baby up your butt." No wonder he was offended). 
5) Arlo only wants to do what Arlo wants to do. 

With Grandma away in the UK Arlo has been having to go to his caregiver twice a week rather than the once he had previously been going. He has kept telling me that he doesn't want to go. I have kept sending him. Now I've found out that he has been showing her he doesn't want to be there by misbehaving and not listening to her and wetting his pants and all those other things small people do to try and express themselves. And so she's made the call that it's not working and pulled the pin. Oh dear. I spoke with her about it yesterday afternoon and it was an awkward (but okay) conversation loaded with things left unsaid. She agreed to have him for two days this week while I make other arrangements. As I cuddled him last night I said "You'll be a good boy at Carrie's this week won't you Arlo?" and he replied "I don't know yet." He met me half way by still being bossy but not wetting his pants.

I did have a nice lunch with him today after I picked him up. Hot chips by the water. He threw a chip to a seagull and 14 others miraculously materialised out of nowhere. That surprised us both. Here's a shot for posterity that I took...
The chips were gone by then but the sea gulls were still there.

That reminds me that I heard my tui friends again on my short walk home from work today. They were calling to each other from one camellia tree to the next and while one of them could only be heard and not seen, the other was sitting on a low branch, tootling, and he was gloriously fat like a pudding. It must have been a good winter for him.

Were you into Transformers when you were knee-high, or maybe even a bit bigger. I didn't know that Arlo was into them, but I think he's watched them on TV with his big brothers. At any rate a bright yellow car drove past us today and he said "Look. It's Bumblebee." Pre three sons I would have presumed he meant the buzzing variety.

Next time I write I need to tell you about what I am calling 'Nita-gate'. It's the term I've given to a discovery I made recently and a conversation I had with Ben which turned out to be one of those shifting of the sand moments that make you re-examine the things you take for granted. 
Rereading that paragraph, I may have talked it up too much. But I'll leave it how I've said it and talk with you about it next time.

I'm wishing you a week worth photographing. A week of fun and good things and beer drinking.

With love,
Rachel xx

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